The fans who packed DC’s Rock & Roll Hotel felt like they were in on a secret — one that won’t stay under wraps for long. Gin Wigmore is already well known in her native New Zealand, and she’s ready to take the States by storm with a crackling, powerhouse voice that commands your attention.
The fans who packed DC’s Rock & Roll Hotel felt like they were in on a secret — one that won’t stay under wraps for long. Gin Wigmore is already well known in her native New Zealand, and she’s ready to take the States by storm with a crackling, powerhouse voice that commands your attention. “I step on you to sip on fire,” Gin intones in her latest single, “New Rush.” Her voice simmers somewhere between a croon and a growl, and you can discern the reference points used by folks when talking about her music — Feist, Amy Winehouse, even Janis Joplin.
This is my day with Vandaveer, a music-making, life-observing, heartstring-bending group that I’ve followed since my first days in D.C. I join them for a jaunt up to New York City — my old hometown, the city of concrete and steel, where dreams are swallowed whole and dreams are set free, where restlessness is the only constant.
Take notes, take photos, repeat to yourself: assemble, testify, preserve. But it’s not possible to be a detached observer. A single show is not a standalone thing but part of an organic whole. It necessarily embraces you. You feel like you’re moving through someone else’s strange, beautiful, ambiguous dream. The present is the past devouring the future.
The rooftop bar feels as intimate as the 9:30 Club felt epic. Laura hops off the stage for a song, tambourine in hand, and the room is all smiles as the audience dances along. Songs like “Generals” and “Body of Work” take on a different patina with the Washington Monument in the backdrop, red lights in a metronomic throb.
This is the second of a two-part photo journal of The Mynabirds. Click here for pics + reflections from their 9:30 Club show with The Pixies.
June 1, 2015. DC is known for swampy summers, and June weather enters on cue, pressing against us with its fleshy heat. All day, the air is thick with the threat of thunder. On the way to the W Washington, I’m caught in a downpour of what feels like monsoon proportions.
Take equal measures of existentialist musings and political smarts and a voice that hums and crackles in alternating currents of vulnerability, whimsy, and ferociousness, and you get The Mynabirds: a mingling of piano, organ, synths, electric guitars, horns, drums — sometimes danceable, other times hymnal amalgams of melody and rhythm, with singer-pianist Laura Burhenn’s distinctive, arresting vocals at the center of it all. The pop shimmer draws you in. The gritty, soulful depths invite you to linger and explore.